I currently have a lot of streaming services on the go and it means that I never really know what I want to watch. Normally it means that I just watch the same old thing over and over again. Take this week for instance. I didn’t know what to start so started watching a random series of Buffy. Unfortunately, the one that Amazon recommended to me was season 7. Yes, I still watched it but I didn’t exactly enjoy it. Is there anyone out there that enjoyed season 7? Why the show didn’t stop after season 5 is still a mystery. But it got me thinking, which season did I really think was the best. And as it’s Friday, I only went and ranked them. Initially, I was just going to do it based on how attractive I find Giles. I think he peaks around season 5 for me. But then the singing in season 6. God, the singing. But I’m getting away from the point.
7. Season 7
There couldn’t be any other, right? Season 7 was a mess. Not only is it full of coincidences that come out of nowhere but it forces us to care about a whole load of people we never really get to know. Why should I care if Molly might die when I never get to know her. Then there’s the fact that this whole season is so slow. It drags a super-thin story out for a whole damn season. The number of filler episodes here is insane. Yes, we’re used to a few in every season but season 7 was mainly filler. Plus, there’s a whole lot of creepiness. It might be for a joke but including a scene of scantily clad pillow, fighting young girls is not necessary.
6. Season 6
Season 6 only beats season 7 thanks to a few standout episodes. Season 6 was also quite boring and repetitive. It dragged out the overriding storyline for too long and spent too long indulging in the Spike/Buffy relationship. Now, I’m not against it per se but it didn’t need to cover that many episodes. Plus, isn’t it also Joss Whedon shaming Buffy for having an active sex life? So what is she doesn’t love Spike or even like him. This was the early 2000s. Women can do whatever the fuck they want Whedon. You were meant to be one of the good guys.
This season is messy and makes bad narrative choices for bad reasons. Tara dying just so Willow can be the big bad? Bad decision. Willow becoming addicted to magic? Badly written. Urgh, if it wasn’t for Once More With Feeling and a few other good episodes, this season would have been full trash.
5. Season 1
I didn’t get into Buffy straight away, so I’d probably watched plenty of other seasons before I even saw the first series. This means I’m not quite as enamoured with it as other fans. I can’t deny that it is a strong first series and full of good stuff. It’s just that Buffy got better. It became less awkward and much more polished. Also, the opening season has dated terribly. Not that any of these seasons really look great nowadays but season 1 looks worst of all.
This isn’t a bad season but it all feels a little silly and childish when compared to what was to come.
4. Season 4
Okay, so Adam is probably the worst big bad of any season and the Initiative sideline goes on and on and on. Then there are episodes like ‘Beer Bad’ which are just dreadful. Plus, what the hell did they do to Oz? Poor guy got such a bad deal in this season considering how beloved he was. The Oz we knew would never have done the things he did.
But there are still plenty of great episodes in the season. ‘Hush’ is obviously one of the best episodes ever written and one of the best episodes in TV history. This is a season built on super strong single episodes. The major arc is awful but it is held together by random greatness.
3. Season 5
Yeah, yeah. Dawn is the absolute worst and she’s never on more annoying form than she is in Season 5. But she does facilitate one of the greatest season finales of the show. The emotional payoff of ‘The Gift’ is everything. It’s such a shame that it wasn’t the way the show went out. It would have been such a perfect way to end the whole Buffy story.
But season 5 is much more than just its final episode. It has one of the most fun big bads in the show’s history with Glory and has some amazing episodes. It is really well-balanced in terms of tone. It has big emotional hits from episodes like ‘The Body’ but plenty of fun ones to counter it. There are some overly silly moments and the end of the Buffy/Riley relationship is badly handled but this is a strong season.
2. Season 3
I know that plenty of people would put this at number 1 and I get it. The Mayor is the best big bad in the entire show. He’s deliciously evil and super fun. But there are certain aspects of this season that kind of bug me. The whole Faith being the Id to Buffy’s Ego is massively overdone. It’s needed to be more subtle and sophisticated. Plus, there’s the whole mopey, wounded puppy Angel to get to grips with. It’s such a waste of a great character.
But there is no denying that season 3 is a pretty darn great season. There are so many fantastic episodes here and the major story arc is very well-crafted. Plus there’s the whole end of High School and end of an era vibe. It was a very close call.
1. Season 2
But season 2 just feels like a really sharp season. The whole narrative arc is really well done. The fall of Angel and the rise of Angelus changes everything. It gives there plenty of emotional resonance. The loss of Jenny and the change in Giles is awful. And there can be no denying that Angelus is a ruthless bad guy. The use of terror and the ramping up of tension works really well in this season. It’s creepy. It’s brilliant.
Season 2 takes everything good about season 1 and fine-tunes it. We get even more fun, even more fantasy, and plenty of drama. There is plenty of teen angst but not in a terrible Dawn way. This is a pretty darn perfect season.